Updated: March 23, 2020
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Nakano Izakayas: 5 Places That Are Simply Awesome


Looking for a cool place with a local vibe to eat and drink in Nakano? Then this is the perfect list for you!

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Okjoki 陸蒸気

Okajoki is an izakaya of long-standing in a class of its own in Nakano. The style of cooking is 'robatayaki' which is a traditional way of cooking mainly around a hearth burning wood. The fresh seafood cooked slowly around the fired has an outstanding taste that combines a bit of a smokey flavor and enhanced umami savoriness. Most people also order some of their excellent seasonal sashimi when they go. The sake or other traditional alcohols is a great way to go at Okajoki.

The restaurant has an amazing traditional atmosphere, with counter seats around the robata kitchen and hearth on the first floor, and horigotatsu tables (low tables at which you sit on the floor on cushions) on the second floor.

People report paying around ¥5,000 at dinner time, which is amazing value for the price.

Okajoki is a very popular restaurant so getting a place can be difficult without a reservation.

Jochan 丈ちゃん

Jochan specializes in poultry meat either cooked on skewers yakitori-style or even served raw. Raw poultry meat is a Japanese delicacy that you might want to try (the quality meat is of course extremely fresh so there is virtually no risk involved).

Skewers are about ¥200 to ¥250 apiece. There are always the recommendations of the day on a separate menu so just have that if you're having a hard time deciding what to have.

This is a good place to have Japanese sake.

Shimonya 四文屋

This is the ultimate cheap izakaya with delicious kushi (skewer) cuisine. You can have them both done yakitori-style, slowly cooked over a charcoal fire, or deep-fried (kushi-age) like they have them in Osaka.

If you like an old-school, chaotic Japanese izakaya atmosphere, you will love the vibe of this place!

Kawajiro 川二郎

This is a rare kind of izakaya specializing in unagi (eel) skewers. What's amazing is that everything is really cheap too, with skewers from ¥250 to ¥500 (remember that unagi is kind of expensive so unagi cuisine is usually much more expensive than that).

But you don't go there just for the great-tasting affordable unagi skewers, the warm retro house-like atmosphere is perfect for drinking in good company!

The only downside to this izakaya is that it closes at 21:00.

Nikomiya Guttsu 煮込み屋ぐっつ

This is the best izakaya to try Japanese-style stews (nikomi). You'll be amazed by the deep umami savoriness of those stews cooked for hours. Try for instance the gyutan (beef tongue) seasoned with yuzu kosho and you shouldn't be disappointed.

Aside from that, the menu has a variety of yoshoku (western-style Japanese cuisine) and other delectable small dishes that you can order (steak cooked on a teppan griddle, Hamburg steak, menchi katsu, karaage, etc.). Everything order is around ¥500.

As for the drinks, they're on the cheap side (glass of wine for ¥320, highball and sour drinks for less than ¥400, beer for ¥400).

Restaurants Mentioned in this Article

    Japanese food culture enthusiast. Love to explore new areas and discover local specialties.

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